Shoveling show: The good, the bad, and the deadly
January 25 2016
While checking in with the local news during our most recent snowstorm, I learned of the many local incidents of heart attack. A friend who is a pharmacist in a Virgina hospital posted several incidents of cardiac arrest and death related to snow shoveling and urged caution. At best, we have all suffered the post snow soreness resulting from shoveling. But, we all need cardiovascular exercise, right?
So, why is it so risky and how can we reap the rewards and stay safe?
First of all...snow happens whether or not we are in shape and prepared to labor against it. So, those with a history of cardiac compromise, high blood pressure, or limited physical activity should take extra care.
Shoveling snow takes TIME, makes high cardiovascular and strength demands - snow is HEAVY. Shoveling is a repetitive action and also requires a lot of bending and lifting - which when done without proper form can create problems for individuals with "bad backs".
So, how can you stay safe?
- Limit and control your effort: Shovel for 20 minutes, rest for 30 minutes, and HYDRATE during your rest periods.
- HIRE help to clear driveways and stairs.
- Use proper form:
- Engage your core
- Switch your lead hand and foot at regular intervals
- Keep hips and shoulders square
- Avoid twisting: To dump snow, turn your entire body - don't twist at the waist.
- Avoid bending - instead squat and use the force of your legs.
- Stretch afterwards!
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